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Teague Quartet Tackles Big Bad John

Wednesday, June 22, 2011  By: Standardbred Canada

Teague Quartet Tackles Big Bad John

Trainer George Teague Jr. is sending four horses to Saturday’s $500,000 Hoosier Cup at Hoosier Park, where his quartet will face off against beaten North America Cup favourite Big Bad John and four other rivals.

The Teague group features Max Hempt Memorial winner Custard The Dragon as well as multiple stakes winner Feel Like A Fool, Wink N Atcha and Wind Me Up.

“I keep them eligible for a reason, and you just hope a couple of them are good enough to go there,” Teague said. “These guys seemed like they were all right, so I’d take a stab at it. It is $500,000; it’s good money.”

Custard The Dragon is coming off a third-place finish in the $100,000 North America Cup consolation. Starting from post eight, he led through fractions of :26.4, :54.4 and 1:22 before giving way to winner Bestofbest Hanover and Mystician.

“He raced a big mile last time,” Teague said. “He was rolling through there pretty good, but got caught at the end. He didn’t get beat for second by much (one-quarter length). I was happy with the way he raced.”

Wink N Atcha, last year’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, was fourth in the Cup consolation. He was eighth, more than 16 lengths behind the leader, at the halfway point and closed with a :25.4 final quarter-mile to miss by 2-1/2 lengths.

“He’s been good,” Teague said. “Last week he paced a humongous (last) quarter. He fired all the way through the lane. He had a ton of pace, but didn’t have a chance to get into it.”

Feel Like A Fool was second in this year’s Empire Breeders Classic. Last season, he won $579,933 thanks to triumphs in the Matron, International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes, as well as a second-place finish in the Metro Pace. He was idle last week after finishing sixth in his North America Cup elimination race.

“He’s trained well,” Teague said. “I think he’s all right.”

Wind Me Up has won four of eight lifetime races, including a division of the Geers and a Metro elimination last season. He is one-for-two this year and is coming off a second-place finish against older horses at Harrah’s Chester.

“I’ve always been impressed with him,” Teague said.

Big Bad John is coming off his first setback of the season, in five races. He finished fifth in the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup after leading much of the way.

He has won 11 of 14 career starts, including International Stallion and Bluegrass stakes divisions last year.

The race, carded as the 12th on the 14-race program, will have an estimated post time of 9:30 p.m. EST. It will also feature a $20,000 guaranteed Superfecta Pool, adding a spark of excitement to the event. The Hoosier Cup will be discontinued after the 2011 event.

In addition to the Hoosier Cup, which is the richest standardbred race offered in the state of Indiana, nine divisions of the final preliminary rounds of the Indiana Sires Stakes will be contested, setting up the fields for the final during Hoosier Champions Night, Saturday, July 16. The $40,000 divisions will push total purses offered for Hoosier Cup Night to $921,000.

Also on the program is a half-mile Open III Trot, featuring a field of nine in Race 4. The race will set the scenario to break the world record for a half-mile distance on a mile or seven-eighths mile oval. The current record of :58.1 was set in 1925 by Temple Harvester at Aurora Downs. Marvin Childs drove the four-year-old trotting gelding by The Harvester.

Here is a look at the field in post position order for Saturday’s $500,000 Hoosier Cup, with listed drivers and trainers:

1. Townslight Hanover, Trace Tetrick, Aaron Lambert
2. Samandar, Peter Wrenn, Larry Rathbone
3. Custard The Dragon, Montrell Teague, George Teague Jr.
4. Alsace Hanover, Scott Zeron, Tony O’Sullivan
5. Feel Like A Fool, Wrenn, Teague
6. Big Bad John, Brett Miller, Ron Potter
7. Major Male, Dave Magee, Robert Taylor
8. Wink N Atcha, Yannick Gingras, Teague
9. Wind Me Up, Sam Widger, Teague

(With files from USTA and Hoosier Park)

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